“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father”James 1:17
Recently I have observed the need for a renewal of gratitude. Gratitude is truly an essential element in maturity. Without it, we can often become resentful, conceited, or selfish. Being thankful tends to make us happier, more resilient, and more generous. Gratitude is a realization and a recognition of reality; an acknowledgement that much of what we have has been given to us as a gift. For young people this often means the physical blessings of a home, clothes, and food. However, it also includes the blessings of relationships, experiences, and the wisdom from those who have gone before us.
Ultimately gratitude helps us have a humble orientation to our God. James 1: 17 tells us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.” Gratitude helps us recognize this truth. The Lord has blessed us with many, many good things, not because of our merit, but out of His great love. Without this appropriate sense of thankfulness, we can be tempted towards pride in our blessings. We may think that we are blessed because we deserve it, not because we have a good Father in heaven who loves His children. Gratitude is essential for both basic human flourishing as well as for spiritual flourishing.
Gratitude also takes work. In many ways it is a skill, and therefore it is something we can work at and help others work at too. Often that means just setting the example and living it out. Grateful people are delightful to be around and seeing their gratitude can help convict us of our own shortcomings in this area.
As grandparents, the opportunity to instill a deep sense of gratitude in your grandchildren is great indeed. Having an attitude of thankfulness will produce benefits in their personal lives and will help them realize how much the Lord has done for them. The person who knows how much they have been blessed by the Lord will be quicker and more earnest in responding generously to His call on their life. May we all be more grateful and respond more fully to God’s call on our lives!
Copyright © 2021 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club
Top photo image of a family eating together in the kitchen, from Bigstock.com, © by nd3000, stock photo ID: 355249445
About Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club
Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club is a program of the Sword of the Spirit. This program was founded in 2016 by Mike Shaughnessy as a resource to equip grandparents to share their faith with their grandchildren. Grandly teaches grandparents to “Think, Pray, and Act Strategically” in the lives of their grandkids. It recognizes that grandparents occupy a special role in the lives of their grandchildren, and if properly trained, can make an outsized impact on their spiritual lives.
As a youth minister, Mike knew the difference grandparents could make in the lives of their grandchildren. He wondered if it could happen more often. It wasn’t that they lacked the faith. What they lacked was a strategy. If grandparents learned how to think, pray, and act strategically, the way youth workers did, something marvelous would happen. It has. Strategic grandparents have become missionaries to their own grandchildren.
We equip grandparents to be “youth workers” to their own grandchildren. When we ask grandparents, “What is your biggest concern?” Most answer “our grandchildren,” not their retirement or the next vacation. Many see that their grandchildren are not getting the spiritual and moral formation they need, and feel equally unable to address that need. We currently equip grandparents to be youth workers through two venues: our website (grandly.org) and our “Do It Grandly” Seminars.
Our website reaches a network of grandparents who are interested in learning how to think, pray, and act strategically. We publish bi-weekly online articles that provide encouragement, motivation, and practical tools on how to pass on their faith to grandchildren. Through our “Do It Grandly” seminars, we help grandparents to grow in their relational skills while providing insight into contemporary youth culture, giving them valuable tools for building impactful, Christ-centered relationships with their grandchildren. These seminars provide a way for Sword of the Spirit grandparents to re-enter internal (their own grandchildren) and external (their own peers) mission.
For access to inspirational articles, sign up for a free membership at www.grandly.org.
Interested in hosting a seminar in your local community or learning more? Please email Pili Galvan Abouchaar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Giles works as a youth worker with Kairos; has a B.A in Communication from Michigan State University, and lives with his family in Lansing, Michigan.